THE IMPORTANCE OF PROSTATE HEALTH
When men reach a certain age — between 40 and 50 years, depending on the individual’s risk factors — the importance of prostate health becomes a looming concern. At the same time, prostate screening is a dreaded test most men try to delay for as long as possible. Taking care of your prostate is the best way to minimize prostate problems at any age, and the earlier you do so, the less worried you’ll be when the time comes for you to have your prostate checked.
The Function of the Prostate
The prostate is a walnut-shaped gland that is part of the male reproductive system, located below the bladder and partly surrounding the urethra (which carries urine from the bladder). The primary job of the prostate is to produce some of the fluid contained in semen.
The prostate gland normally grows as men age. It can grow to the size of an apricot by age 40, and the size of a lemon by age 60. As it grows, it may put more pressure on the urethra, which can make it increasingly difficult to pee. In fact, most men dread this well-known symptom of an enlarged prostate, because it may also lead to a more serious diagnosis — like prostate cancer.
An enlarged prostate, or benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), is a common occurrence as men age — about 8 out of 10 men develop BPH and 90% of men over the age of 80 will have it. It is not cancerous, but it is also not preventable. A family history of BPH increases the risk of developing the condition.
Symptoms of an enlarged prostate include:
• Difficulty starting to urinate
• Having to pee more frequently, especially at night
• Incomplete emptying of the bladder
• Having the need to pee without the normal sensation of build-up in the bladder
• Stopping and starting several times while urinating
• Straining to get the pee flowing
BPH rarely leads to serious problems, but it’s still important to go and see a doctor if you experience any of the above symptoms, as these could also indicate something else other than an enlarged prostate. A yearly prostate checkup may be required by your doctor if you are diagnosed with BPH. Some lifestyle changes may also be necessary; you may be prescribed medications if the symptoms bother you.
Other prostate problems to watch out for:
Prostate cancer is among the most common types of cancer. It typically affects men over the age of 50, and has a higher incidence among African-American and African men. Obesity or a history of prostate cancer or breast cancer in the family also increases the risk for this cancer.
For some men, prostate cancer grows slowly and does not spread to other organs or cause serious harm. For others, especially African-American and African men, cancer can be more aggressive.
Early detection is critical to successful treatment. Unfortunately, the early stages of prostate cancer normally do not present with any symptoms. When symptoms finally show up, cancer may already be at an advanced stage.
• Difficulty urinating
• Weaker than normal urine flow
• Blood in the urine
• Blood in the semen
• Erectile dysfunction
• Unexplained weight loss
• Bone pain
This is an infection or inflammation of the prostate. Developing prostatitis is a risk when a catheter or other medical instrument is inserted into the urethra. Sexually transmitted diseases may also cause it. Symptoms include:
• Difficulty passing urine
• Chills and fever
• Sexual problems
Treatment for prostatitis typically involves antibiotics.
It’s important to see a doctor as soon as possible if you experience any of the symptoms above.
Because it is a common type of cancer and early detection is usually only possible through regular prostate checkups, most doctors recommend that men with a moderate or high risk for prostate cancer undergo prostate cancer screening every one or two years — depending on individual risk factors.
How to Maintain a Healthy Prostate
There is no sure way to prevent BPH or prostate cancer; prostatitis, on the other hand, can be prevented by practising proper hygiene and safe sex.
Doctors generally recommend that men with at least an average risk for prostate cancer take better care of their overall health through healthy lifestyle choices. There are also natural supplements that may be able to support prostate health, such as Prost-Aid, a plant-based supplement manufactured by QN Wellness.
Adopting the following lifestyle habits may not only reduce your risk for prostate cancer but for other diseases as well.
Maintain a healthy weight through a well-balanced diet
Because obesity is a risk factor for prostate cancer, controlling your weight by eating a healthy diet is important.
Though there is little evidence that shows a high-fat diet may increase the risk for cancer, high-fat foods are known to contribute to obesity and other diseases. Aside from providing nutrients to keep you in tip-top shape, eating a lot of fruits and vegetables every day will also keep you fuller longer — and this will help you limit your intake of fatty foods and other unhealthy foods.
Men with a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or higher have a higher risk for prostate cancer. Especially if you’re already overweight or obese, exercising for at least 30 minutes, at least three times a week can help get you back into shape or help you maintain a healthy weight. Keep in mind that it’s harder to lose excess weight than to keep it off, so it’s better to start exercising even if you’re still within your healthy weight range.
Consider taking health supplements
Look for health supplements formulated with all-natural ingredients that are known to be beneficial for prostate health. If you are taking other medications, make sure to consult your doctor before starting any supplement to prevent any possible adverse reactions.